ROAD SAFETY & ROAD SAFETY WEEK
NEED FOR ROAD SAFETY ?
During the year 2009, 4,86,384 road accidents were reported in India in which 1,25,660 persons were killed and 5,15,458 persons were injured . Similarly, in the year 2010, in 4,99,628 road accidents, 1,34,527 persons were killed and 5,27,512 persons were injured across the country. The provisional figures of road accidents for the year 2011 indicated that 4,97,686 road accidents were reported leading to the death of 1,42,485 persons and injury to 5,11,394 persons. More than half of the persons killed in these road accidents were in the economically active age group of 25 to 65 years. The number of deaths and injuries in the road accidents is continuously on the rise since 2001 when 80,888 persons were killed and 4,50,216 persons were injured in the various road accidents in the country. The situation in West Bengal is no better than the rest of the country, wherein 4860 persons were killed and ,12,186 persons were injured in 11,134 road accidents in 2009. In 2010, 5860 persons were killed and 15,760 persons were injured in 14,888 road accidents. Similarly, 5664 persons were killed and 14,962 persons were injured in 14,985 road accidents in the year 2011 in the State.
The number of persons injured and killed per 10,000 kms of road length has more than doubled in the country since 1970. There has been more than 3 folds increase in the persons injured per lakh of population from 13 in 1970 to 44.8 in 2008. Similarly, the persons killed per lakh of population jumped 4 folds from 2.7 in 1970 to 11.4 in 2010. The Analysis of the road accidents in terms of the causative factors reveals that driver’s fault is a single most important factor responsible for the accidents, fatalities and injuries. The exposure to the road accident risks may be mitigated by behavioral standards by adhering to road safety regulations and policy intervention. Many countries have curbed the menace of road accidents by adopting a multi prong approach to road safety that encompasses broad range of measures such as traffic management, designs and quality of road infrastructure, application of Intelligent Transport System, safer vehicles, law enforcement, effective and quick accident response and care and traffic safety awareness campaign etc. Therefore, there is a need to involve multi agencies/sectors like health, transport, NGOs, youth, general public and police for enforcing smooth and accident free drive on the India’s road net-work which is second largest in the world with over 3 million kms of road length of which 60% are paved.
ROAD SAFETY WEEK
The keeping in view the bleak road safety scenario in the country, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,Government of India is observing Road Safety Week in the 1st week of January every year. During the year 2010 to 2012, the Road Safety Weeks were observed on the following themes in the country, including West Bengal :
(i) National Road Safety Week, 2010 - “Life Is Safe if Driving Is Safe”
(ii) National Road Safety Week, 2011 - “Road Safety Mission, not Intermission”
(iii) National Road Safety Week, 2012 - “Accident Brings Tears, Safety Brings Cheers”.
During the current year, Traffic Safety Week had been observed in the State by the District/ Traffic Branches of Commissionerate from January 1 to 7, 2013 on the theme- “ Stay Alive, Do Not Drink and Drive”, in order to inculcate the sense of road safety and create awareness amongst masses. During the Road Safety Week, Rallies, Seminars, Traffic Awareness Programmes, display of banners, Road Signs, dos and don’ts of Road Safety at important traffic junctions, organisation of exhibitions, distribution of pamphlets, Road Safety materials amongst the road users was done throughout the State to highlight the significance of Road Safety. The various NGOs, school children, NCC boys, scouts, prominent citizens and general public participated in Traffic Safety Week programmes organized in the State. The Government of India is contemplating to add a chapter in the school curriculum across the country to educate the young mind highlighting the requirement of the road safety.
The West Bengal Traffic Police Headquarters has impressed upon the field units to organize traffic safety awareness and education programmes throughout the year involving the road users and the community at large. To achieve the desired results, they have been asked to formulate an annual calendar of Road Safety Campaign giving details of events to be organized throughout the year.